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AFP
November 21, 2019

France, Germany offer Nato plans after ‘brain death’ row

World

AFP
November 21, 2019

BRUSSELS: France and Germany outlined separate proposals for reforming Nato on Wednesday after President Emmanuel Macron slammed the alliance as experiencing “brain death”, causing uproar just weeks before a crucial summit.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian used the one-day meeting with his 28 Nato counterparts to explain Macron’s damning verdict and offer ideas for improvement.

Macron argued in an Economist interview that Turkey’s military incursion into Syria and US unpredictability under President Donald Trump indicated a failure of strategic thinking at Nato.

Le Drian suggested a “small group of eminent persons” be formed to reflect on “the vision the alliance has of its values and aims” and report back to leaders at their summit in 2021.

The experts should focus on Nato’s relationship with Russia and the future challenges to alliance security—in particular terrorism, the rise of China and the impact of new military technology, Le Drian told the ministers.

Separately, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas proposed an expert group chaired by Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to strengthen political thinking, saying it was essential to preserve the alliance, which he called “Europe’s life insurance”.

“What matters is to make sure that Nato, in the unity as we know it, also goes into the future—that there are no divisive tendencies within Nato,” Maas told reporters.“There is a need to strengthen the political arm of Nato. There is also a need for greater political coordination between the partners.”Stoltenberg, who will travel to Paris next week to confront Macron in person about his comments, welcomed the German proposal.

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